6/7/1917 Arab rebels storm Aqaba #1917Live

Nasir ibn Ali and British liaison officer T.E. Lawrence have persuaded Auda abu Tayi to join the Arab Revolt against the Turks. Together with Auda’s tribal followers and others who have rallied to the cause they now advance on the Turkish controlled port of Aqaba. Most of the fighting takes place outside the town, with the rebels attacking and eliminating Turkish positions that guard its approaches. Today they finally storm Aqaba itself.

Aqaba lies at the northern end of the Red Sea gulf that bears its name. It is an ideal point from which to supply Arab operations further to the north in Syria. So that the British will be aware of the opportunities yielded by this victory, Lawrence departs from Aqaba to make his way across the Sinai desert to Cairo, the centre of British power in the Middle East.

image sources:

Auda abu Tayi’s standard is carried into Aqaba (Weapons and Warfare: Lawrence and Aqaba II)

T.E. Lawrence at Aqaba (Clio Visualizing History: The Taking of Akaba)

18/6/1917 Nasir and Lawrence set their sights on Aqaba

Emir Faisal has sent his cousin Nasir ibn Ali and other trusted lieutenants north to reconnoitre Syria and enlist local support for the Arab Revolt. Nasir has been accompanied by T. E. Lawrence, the British intelligence officer who liaises between the Arab rebels and the British authorities in Cairo.

Now Nasir and Lawrence have managed to persuade Auda abu Tayi and several hundred of his tribal followers to join the revolt. The question now is what to do with them. The Turkish rail depot at Ma’an makes for a tempting target, but it is too strongly defended for the rebels to attack. Instead Nasir and Lawrence decide on another target, the Red Sea port of Aqaba.

If the rebels could take Aqaba then they would have a base at the gates of Syria from which the British could supply them. The Turks have strongly defended Aqaba against sea attack. However Nasir hopes to take advantage of the Turks’ failure to anticipate an attack by land. The rebels begin their advance.

image sources:

T.E. Lawrence & Auda abu Tayi (eKurds: Photographs of Lawrence from 1914-1918)

Aqaba and environs (A Passage to `Aqaba: A Geographical Enquiry)